You may not have heard of co-living before, but chances are it'll be on your radar from now on. The phrase essentially refers to large, hotel-style apartment blocks where residents pay one flat monthly rental rate to benefit from a number of communal amenities, and it's being billed as the future of renting.
In August 2020, search data from rental app Movebubble showed that the demand for ‘bills-included’ homes rose 28 per cent year on year, and that's only set to increase as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Chief executive Aidan Rushby said: “When you think of all-inclusive it conjures up luxury holidays, unlimited cocktails and everything taken care of, but the savvier amongst us are looking closer to home.
“The coronavirus crisis has affected thousands of people’s jobs and pay. And with people rightly watchful of their finances many Britons have been unable to holiday abroad this summer.
“As a result, it’s interesting to see the concept of all-inclusive rental packages emerge as a trend within the property sector as home-movers increasingly seek solace in nurturing financial certainty in an uncertain world.”
Here's what you need to know:
What is co-living?
Essentially, it means an all-in package for renters, but with many extra curricular benefits. Co-living apartments tend to be large buildings in city centres with chic, millennial-friendly interiors created by designers. They often have co-working spaces, plus separate areas for gyms, restaurants, bars and even things like cinemas.
Think a cool hotel where everyone lives and knows each other.
Ryan Prince, CEO and founder of UNCLE, a co-working, ‘all in one’ living brand tells Cosmopolitan: "A house isn’t just a place to sleep any more – it’s your office, your social space, your exercise space, and more – and people are looking for a home that reflects this.
"We think of our buildings as neighbourhoods, complete with beautiful apartments and the amenities you always wished were located just outside your door; we make sure they’re close to great green spaces as well."
How much does it cost?
That depends on where you live, and which company you choose, but you're almost certainly looking at more than your average house share. Given that things like cleaning and furniture are included, some may say it's worth every penny.
At The Collective, a company with buildings in London and New York, prices can range from £1,085 a month to £2,817 a month.
There are benefits to spending more, though; often lets are flexible, meaning you won't need to sign a lease or stay for a set amount of time, and you're unlikely to need a deposit. Of course you also get to make use of communal areas.
Are bills included?
Yes. The beauty of co-living is that it's one monthly flat rate. This tends to include rent, bills, regular cleaning, concierge and use of the gym and communal spaces. Extras, like classes or events, may come at an extra charge.
What about co-working spaces?
A huge benefit for many, particularly as many of us continue to work from home, will be the access to spaces designed for working.
While some can spend hundreds a week renting a desk in a specific workspace, co-living buildings come with plenty of space for their residents to work effectively - and we have to admit, the idea of not being hunched over the sofa is seriously tempting.
The Collective's Canary Wharf building, for example, has a workspace, library and meeting room.
What are the mental health benefits of co-living?
For some, being surrounded by people everyday will come as a huge relief at a time when many of us are suffering from loneliness.
UNCLE's Ryan explains: "Every building has a unique resident team who know the residents, understand their needs and of course are responsible for any maintenance or support in house. Throughout lockdown we also ran a range of virtual events to allow our residents to feel connected, and our dedicated team is on hand to help with any issues, from parcel deliveries, helping those self-isolating or just checking in when someone seems down."
Of course, others may find the constant presence of others overwhelming - but the flats can be rented for one, so you'll always have somewhere to retreat to when it all gets a bit too much.
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